Exeter, Luzerne County -- It's been decades since an old, dilapidated railroad bridge off Route 92 in Exeter has been used. Now it appears the days are numbered for the bridge that spans across the Susquehanna River. Eyewitness News took to the river in April for an up close look at the structure. The view revealed crumbling pillars, rusted beams and flood debris clinging to the bridge deck. "We can't stress enough how important it is for that bridge to come down. The concrete abutments are failing. The bridge itself is not strong," said DEP spokesperson Colleen Connolly.
The rickety bridge was dealt even more damage by the flood of 2011. It's unlikely the span could ever withstand a similar threat. "Lets get that bridge taken care of before we have some type of major flooding event or before something causes that bridge to go into the river because that could create a huge obstruction in the river," said Ms. Connolly.
The plan to take down this old railroad bridge comes just two months after DEP gave the owner, Leo Glodzik, an ultimatum -- either repair the span or demolish it. Luzerne County Flood Protection authority is expected to use more than $600,000 in federal grant money to dismantle the bridge. "The financing right now is in the hands of the county and Mr. Glodzik... how they're going to deal with it, how they're going to come up with it," said Ms. Connolly.
Even though the likely funding is taxpayer fueled, using the money would help prevent a costly collapse. "The public can rest assured knowing some type of flooding hazard is coming down and that area of the river is going to be safer hopefully in the coming months," said Ms. Connolly.
Bidding to take down the bridge is expected to happen within the next month or so. Actual demolition could begin around September if the plan stays on track.